Notes from the Underground

Downtown Houston's Tunnel System has over 100 places to eat and connects more than 81 buildings and parking garages. I have spent 26 years taking people through the Downtown Houston Tunnel System. I created this blog because I thought it might be fun for folks to know more about what happens in downtown underground and why. I welcome questions and comments about Houston's Tunnel.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Notes from the Past

Going through my old files, I found one of the first "Notes from the Underground," a quarterly print newsletter I published the old-fashioned way and distributed by snail-mail in the year 2000. That was quite a year for the Tunnel, as you can tell from these Notes from the Past.

The Tunnel’s Whole Again. There’s a lot more tunnel to explore now that the connection between Bank One Center and McKinney Place is open to pedestrian traffic. Closed since February 1999 due to demolition of the Woolworth Building and construction of the 12-story McKinney Place, this part of the Tunnel allows you to walk from the Park Shops mall in Houston Center to the food court in Bank One Center. It’s not pretty yet – but it’s open.

The Tunnel Takes Off for the Sky. A new skywalk is nearing completion connecting Texaco Heritage Plaza and the Doubletree Hotel at Allen Center. This means that, for the first time, Texaco Heritage Plaza will be accessible to the Tunnel System. There is another skybridge in the offing. Enron is constructing a new office tower – Enron II – which will be joined to the current Enron Tower by means of an elegant glass skybridge connecting the two buildings to a parking garage. Once these new connections are finished, the Tunnel Lady is going to have to trek around the Tunnel System with her tape measure because she won’t be able to say that the Tunnel is 6.3 miles long. Will we outdistance Toronto’s seven-mile system? Stay tuned.

This old newletter features ads from Vespucci's, a marvelous Italian restaurant in Bank One Center's food court that has since gone out of business. The building is now called 919 Milam and Vespucci's has been replaced by Ninfa's Mexican Cantina.

There was also an ad from Bank United, a bank that is no more. But its first Tunnel location was historic. It was the first bank to open a Tunnel-level branch -- in Two Shell Plaza's Tunnel. Once other banks saw how successful this Bank United branch was, they began opening their own branches -- and adding ATM machines throughout the Tunnel System.

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